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The World Against People of Color

via Vox

The death of George Floyd is a tragic event in the history of the United States that has shaken the world and sparked some of the largest protests. What happened to Floyd wasn’t the first assault on a black individual, but could it be the last? Not only in the US but also throughout the world, people have been protesting for justice for George Floyd and those who have lost their lives due to police brutality and improper police training. People came together to overcome the significant obstacles minorities have faced in the past. In addition to Black people, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, and South Asians experience racism and brutality from the police. According to Google, discrimination means the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things. Forms of discrimination include the way a person dresses, a person’s body figure, religion, race, skin color, economic status, etc. 


To give some insight into the tragedy on May 25th, 2020, George Floyd had gone to a store and reportedly given the cashier a counterfeit bill. The cashier called the police and upon arrival, the police officers detained Floyd. After being detained, Floyd was kneeled on by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for eight long minutes. Chauvin was surrounded by other officers and bystanders who were filming. Floyd became unconscious and bystanders started to scream at the officers. George Floyd was reported dead the same day. Floyd shouldn't have been killed even if he had given a cashier a counterfeit bill.


When the police overreact, a situation can drastically escalate—for example, the case of Eric Garner. Two NYPD officers approached Garner because he was illegally selling cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo attempted to arrest Garner, but he resisted, so Pantaleo choked Garner. Eric Garner became unconscious and died. His last words were “I can’t breathe,” similar to Floyd’s last words. Garner’s last words have become very iconic as written on posters and banners for the BLM movement. Breonna Taylor was another victim of racially motivated policing. Taylor was seeing a man named Kenneth Walker who sold drugs. After the police raided Taylor’s residence, Walker fired his gun and the police responded back with more than 10 shots. Breonna Taylor was shot and killed. According to the New York Times, “No charges were announced against the other two officers who fired shots, and no one was charged for causing Ms. Taylor’s death.” 


The issue is faced not only by African Americans but also by other minorities in the US. During his time in high school, a Sudanese-American named Ahmed Mohamed had cops called on him for reassembling a homemade clock. History.com states that the boy went to school and a ticking noise came from his backpack. The faculty thought it was a “bomb,” so they called the police, and the police pressed charges against Mohamed. After his charges were dropped, Mohamed's family moved to Qatar. The case was ignored entirely when Mohamed’s parents filed a lawsuit (History). After this, Barack Obama and many others spoke out and stood up for him, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the trauma the child had gone through. 


No one would expect a war veteran to face racial discrimination since they help protect the United States. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case: Lee Wong is an Asian American who immigrated to the US when he was only 18. Wong decided to dedicate his life to his new country. The discrimination towards Asian Americans has been fueled recently by COVID-19, a fatal virus rumored to spread from a lab in Wuhan, China. In an article by BBC, Lee Wong said, “But some said Asian-Americans should not feel compelled to prove their loyalty to their country (BBC).” He later unbuttoned his shirt and showed the world his battle scars. People doubted his patriotism because of his race as well as his accent. 


The sad reality is that minority-focused issues aren’t only towards adults. People who hold a grudge against a race or ethnicity don’t care whether the person is a kid or an adult. For example, after 9/11, Muslim and Sikh kids had to deal with being called ‘terrorists’ and ‘hijackers’ and insults toward their religion. Over the last two years, the burden was spread to Asian-Americans after the outbreak of COVID-19. Asian-Americans were called inappropriate names like ‘bat eaters,’ ‘dog eaters,’ and even accused of developing the virus. As a leader of the country, respect for the people is an essential thing. However, the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, exacerbated the situation by calling the Coronavirus the ‘Wuhan Virus’ and the ‘China Virus.’ Like most problems, the root is always at the beginning of the chain, and when the president says things like this, it only encourages people of the nation to say similar things. In the article Battling Asian Hate, Sharon S. Lee said, “... Lastly, it focuses on the important ways Asian American students have raised their voices to challenge anti-Asian hate and invisibility to advocate for culturally...”. Our nation's youth shouldn’t have to deal with such problems and have to take action into their own hands. An Asian-American or a Muslim-American is as “American” as any other country citizen. 

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Sources: 

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eric-garner-dies-nypd-chokehold

https://www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/muslim-teen-arrested-for-bringing-homemade-clock-to-school

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56556442.

https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2016.1239697.

https://www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html

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